Disparities in Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice
Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022 12:15 PM - 2:15 PM (EST)
- Chair: Kwabena Gyimah-Brempong, National Science Foundation
Racial Isolation and Marginalization of Economic Research on Race and Crime
AbstractResearch on the economics of race and crime has systematically isolated and marginalized particular points of view, particular approaches, and that the works of certain subgroups of economists and papers published in certain outlets have been ignored. Despite the fact that blacks are overrepresented in the criminal justice system, research by economists often overlooks the contributions of blacks and marginalizes research about racism and racial discrimination that could lead to a better understanding of the issues and potentially help produce policies to remedy the overrepresentation of African Americans and Latinx in the criminal justice system. A large professional literature has sought to explain racial and ethnic disparities in incarceration and other criminal justice outcomes, as well as their implications for racial and ethnic differences in socioeconomic status. However, the dominant economics literature has not sufficiently incorporated research by African American economists, is excessively reliant on the rational choice model of crime, excludes important insights from studies published in economic journals outside of the top 5 and major field journals, e.g., studies published in the Review of Black Political Economy, and does not give sufficient attention to empirical research from fields other economics (even though these fields often employ the same statistical methodologies as economists). This paper examines differences in citations for articles on criminal justice by race of author and journal of publication. It also highlights some important articles that do not appear in the top economics journal to identify what insights they provide on key criminal justice issues that are important for the advancement of the field.
The Historical Origins and Evolution of Criminal Records-Occupational Licensing Requirements
AbstractWe collected data on the origins and evolution of state laws affecting the ability of people with criminal records to be issued an occupation license. The data range from year of initial licensure, which occurred as early as the mid-19th century, to 2020 for thirty occupations ranging across different industries, but currently requiring licensure in all states. Additionally, we collected data on universal criminal records-occupational licensing (CROL) requirements, which are requirements that apply to all occupations requiring licensure in a state. These requirements were typically enacted in states from the mid-1970s through the late-2010s. The CROL requirements we collected include (1) good moral character clauses, which allow licensing authorities to reject applicants who are deemed to not be of good moral character, (2) criminal records restrictions, which prevent an individual from being issued an occupational license due to a previous conviction, (3) the requirement of a relationship between an offense and the tasks and duties of an occupation, (4) consideration of rehabilitation, and (5) limitations on scope of inquiry, which limit the ability of licensing authorities to consider certain criminal records. We will describe how the distribution of CROL requirements varies across states, occupations, and industries. Additionally, we will describe how the stringency of the requirements have changed through time. We are using the data to examine the effects of different CROL requirements on labor market outcomes of minority populations who have disproportionate felony conviction and incarceration rates. Additionally, we are examining the political economy of CROL requirements by identifying the social, political, and economic factors that lead to the enactment of these requirements.
Black Lives: The High Cost of Segregation
AbstractWe explore the extent to which segregation influences local government expenditures and revenue, homicide victimization, and police-related fatalities. Following Ananat (2011), we identify a causal relationship between public expenditures and segregation by exploiting the arrangement of railroad tracks in northern cities. Using a 2SLS approach, we find that segregation is positively related to violent crime and non-white homicide victimization but negatively related to the size of the police department. In addition, we find suggestive evidence that highly segregated locations experience greater levels of police violence, and that the degree of police violence decreases over time. Lastly, we find that the lack of public provisions may be driving our results, as highly segregated locations generate fewer revenues and spend less on public safety and education. Our results shed new light on the consequences of segregation. Recent research finds that the migration of southern Blacks to northern and western cities led to increased public expenditures for public safety in the 1960s. Our results indicate that white flight and segregation depleted the local tax base, leading to urban decay and higher crime, resulting in increased non-white deaths.
- K4 - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior
- J7 - Labor Discrimination